5 Things to do in Paris AFTER you die
Life's too short. Wait to do these later...
Okay, so we’ve all seen millions of lists, most of which start with some catchy phrase like “10 things to do in Paris before you die”. Of course, you’re gonna want to do them before you die. After all, when life stops, your vision is likely to be severely impaired, not to mention your taste buds.
But there are certainly some things in Paris that can wait. Here are my top five:
The Catacombs - Denfert-Rochereau. Bones from over six million bodies have been collected from Paris cemeteries starting in the 1700s. They have been neatly stacked in these underground caves along a walkway over a mile long.
Upon entering the cave, you’re greeted by a sign that says ominously, “Stop! This is the Kingdom of the Dead!” The brochure that comes with the entrance ticket states that “The Catacombs are not accessible for persons with reduced mobility.” Judging by the number of bones and skulls I saw in the walls, it was obvious that millions of people with no mobility at all had already arrived.
Wait and do this one after you die. Six million Frenchmen can’t be wrong.
Le Pissoir - Since 1840, men have had access to pissoirs. A pissoir is an open-air urinal for those who refuse to pay for a coffee at the local café in order to use the restroom.
If you insist on using the last remaining pissoir in Paris, wear waterproof shoes, and put a clothespin on your nose. It smells so bad, you’ll wish you were dead. Hence the entry on our list.
McDonalds - Really? You came all this way, to the culinary capital of the world, to eat at McDonalds? If you are still living, better to go to restaurants such as Chez Georges, Cèpe & Figue, or even an outdoor café like Les Patios (near the Sorbonne). But as soon as you kick the bucket, go to KFC and McDonalds, both in the photo above.
Eiffel Tower - Yes, I know. How can you go to Paris, and not see the Eiffel Tower? I’m not saying don’t go see it. But the best views of the tower and of Paris are not obtained from climbing the Eiffel Tower.
The most stunning views of the Eiffel Tower are actually from the Montparnasse Tower, like the photo above. So, if you want memorable photos which include the Eiffel Tower, take the elevator to the top of Tour Montparnasse instead. Save the Eiffel climb for another day. When I went to the top, it nearly scared me to death. Might as well wait.
Pantheon - This is one of my favorite buildings on the Left Bank. From the outside. It’s quite lively during the day, and at night the local cafés offer a great view of Paris, including the iconic Eiffel Tower. If you are fortunate enough that on the day you visit, you are permitted to visit the balcony surrounding the dome, by all means go do it. The views are incredible.
But the inside is cold and damp. And it’s full of dead people. Yes, they are famous dead people, but it’s not like you get to see them or anything. Here, above, is one of the views from inside the cold, damp, dark, and gloomy Pantheon.
Once you die, this would be a great place to party with some of the best artists of the past. Voltaire, Rousseau, and even Victor Hugo now call this home. And if Hugo is there, maybe Quasimodo is as well. Rousseau looks like he is ready to come out and party. So after you die, go inside the Pantheon. And enjoy the party.
But seriously, ignore the lists, including this one. Have a great time, and go do, see, and eat whatever you want. Heaven can wait.
To see my latest book, Paris for Life: Notes from a Lifetime in and out of Paris, click here.
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